Interview: Elliot Temple

by Satish Talim on April 3, 2007

(This interview appeared before on 24th Aug. 2006 on the PuneRuby blog).

Today we talk to Elliot Temple.

Satish Talim>> Hello Elliot, and welcome to PuneRuby. Could you tell us something about yourself – your background; where you are based…?

Elliot Temple>> I am in Berkeley, California. I’ve programmed on and off since I was 13 when I learned Scheme and C++. I’ve done contract programming work for the last two years, mostly for Cybergroup. My interests include epistemology, parenting, and politics.

Satish Talim>> Given the choices out there, why did you select Ruby?

Elliot Temple>> I think Lisp has the best philosophical underpinnings of any language, but Ruby is specialized better for the kinds of programs most people write today. Of the high-level, convenient-to-use, modern languages with good libraries, Ruby has some of the best abstraction and meta-programming features. And it’s nicer to use than its competitors due to better syntax, blocks, the principle of least surprise, and the principle of letting the user have freedom. Or maybe it’s nice because Matz is a genius. Ruby also has Rails.

Satish Talim>> How did you learn Ruby and when?

Elliot Temple>> I started seriously learning Ruby four months ago (May 2006). I got Programming Ruby 2nd ed and just started using Ruby (for the Ruby Quiz and some scripts) and looked up whatever I needed. Answering questions in the IRC room and on the mailing list is a good way to practice Ruby.

Satish Talim>> Which features of Ruby do you like the most?

Elliot Temple>> I like being able to re-open classes, method_missing, that everything is an object, the standard library, that Hash and Array are feature-rich, and blocks.

Satish Talim>> Do you think Ruby has the potential to be a mainstream programming language?

Elliot Temple>> Yes of course. Ruby is good, computers keep getting faster, and people are coming to realize more and more that high-level languages are worth the the tradeoffs. And Ruby has a good community that’s capable of improving Ruby as time goes on.

Satish Talim>> What applications, utilities have you developed in Ruby and what platform are you running these applications on?

Elliot Temple>> I wrote some scripts and I’ve mostly completed a Tetris program, but I haven’t done anything big in Ruby yet. I’m writing a Balanced Scorecard Rails application. I develop Ruby programs on Mac OS X with Textmate.

Satish Talim>> Anything else you would like to share with the PuneRuby members?

Elliot Temple>> If you don’t know about Unit Tests, you should. They let you be more confident your code works, and make it less stressful to change things. Here’s the best introduction to Unit Testing I’ve seen.

Satish Talim>> Thanks Elliot for sharing your views with the PuneRuby members. You can keep in touch with Elliot via his blog.

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Posted by Satish Talim

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